4 steps to improve CRM adoption by your sales reps!

To improve your sales performance, you have equipped your company with a CRM.

Your teams (IT, sales, marketing, finance…) have worked together to optimize the functionalities and ensure that the platform meets your specific needs.

To ensure the best result, your teams called on external suppliers, such as the technology partner, as well as resources specializing in CRM implementation. This resulted in a structured, sometimes lengthy, process that was demanding in terms of resources and team involvement.

In summary:

– The technical implementation is a success.

– The marketing department is using the CRM to launch and manage campaigns.

And yet,

– A few months, or years, after the CRM platform is implemented, sales adoption remains a concern.

Sales adoption remains limited and, by definition, the benefits do not live up to initial expectations.

To ensure the success of CRM projects, here is the process that I use systematically, which has proven to be successful.

This process is linear—each question must be answered and the necessary actions implemented before moving on to the next:

#1 – Are your sales reps sufficiently trained?

This question is crucial and often holds surprises.

Indeed, even if the answer seems positive at first, there can be many “holes”. These are among the most frequent cases:

– The last training took place many months ago and has been “forgotten” by those who attended, mainly because of the lack of daily practice.

– Some sales reps did not attend the training; this happens when they were absent during the training or if no systematic training is planned for new hires.

– The format was not well adapted to the audience and there is little or no documentation to refer to, or support (email address, staff) to address questions to.

– The tool has evolved, however, there is no “refresher” training and new features have not been made known to users.

It is never a waste of time to make sure that your sales reps are familiar with the tool on a recurring and structural basis.

It is also essential to ensure that good practices are shared within the team, particularly by appointing “reference users”.

#2 – Is the CRM being used?

Your users may have been properly trained, and yet the CRM is underutilized by sales reps and their management.

What are the signals?

– Some sales reps no longer have their password.

– The list of users is not up to date (even though licenses continue to be paid for).

– Using the CRM is not mandatory within the sales department.

– Alternatives exist: CRM is not the only source for pipeline discussions.

#3 – Is the input of quality?

While using the CRM is necessary, it will be insufficient  if the information contained in the CRM is not updated or is incomplete.

Indeed, how can you reliably discuss sales strategy and its impact if the estimated contract signature dates, values, stages (suspect, prospect, proposal, negotiation in progress…) and customer information are not updated?

The CRM must be used in an optimal way to ensure the best ROI.

#4 – Is the output used? In what form?

You have made sure that the users are properly trained, that the tool is used optimally and that the input is of good quality.

However, the platform still won’t fulfill its potential if the output is not used properly.

A CRM is a reference tool for customer information, business performance and business intelligence.

Its functionalities allow teams to draw valuable lessons, thanks to dashboards. These insights can be used to fine-tune business strategy, verify the impact of the strategy and measure recruitment needs and other critical information.

To ensure this, a series of sub-questions need to be answered positively:

– Is this richness of features of the CRM even being harnessed? Have the results materialized in numbers or within dashboards?

– Which dashboards are used?

– Does the sales cadence (one-to-ones, team meetings, management meetings) include CRM data analyses? Is the sales action plan revised?

– Is this information shared beyond the commercial sphere? Does the General Management or the Financial Management have access to these dashboards? Do they also have direct access to the CRM? 

To answer the question “How can we improve CRM adoption by our sales reps?” we must first conduct this linear process to ensure that the fundamentals are in place.

Once each question is answered positively, it’s time to ensure that the CRM is doing its job and delivering the ROI expected when the decision to implement a CRM was made.

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